North East Wales

Wrexham protest over axing of fire engine and 24 posts

The protest was held on the day a new £15m fire and ambulance station was opened
Image caption The Wrexham protest was held on the day a new £15m fire and ambulance station was opened

A protest has been held over proposals to cut one of the Wrexham's two full-time fire engines and 24 firefighter posts.

The event coincided with the opening of a new £15m combined fire and ambulance station in the town.

Campaigners said the "great and the good should not be allowed to gloss over the cut."

North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority have opened a consultation on the plan, which aims to save £1m by 2020.

Campaigner Marc Jones said there were concerns that progress made in fire prevention work would be "undone" if the cuts took place.

"The great and the good will be present but they should not be allowed to gloss over this plan to cut the fire service in our borough and beyond," he said.

Image caption Cerith Griffiths, secretary of the FBU Wales, said the number of people the service saves has increased

Cerith Griffiths, secretary of the Fire Brigades Union Wales, said it understands the financial pressure the fire authority faces.

He added: "But the number of people we save has increased over the last year.

"We would argue against getting rid of any fire engines. We have to keep the service as it is."

Authority chairman Councillor Meirick Lloyd Davies said the new joint fire and ambulance station will "allow greater co-ordination" when responding to incidents.

Image caption Burns victim Gary Edwards joined the protest

Mr Davies said that removing an appliance from Wrexham could make the savings required without closing a fire station altogether.

He added: "As a fire authority we have also had to recognise that there are financially challenging times ahead.

"These decisions are not easy ones and I can fully appreciate that people may feel strongly about what we have to consider."

Burns victim Gary Edwards joined the protest.

He said: "I don't want anyone to go through what I've been through. It's been 13 years of hell.

"If you cut the amount of people fighting fires, that's going to increase the numbers of people being injured."

The consultation closes in December.

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